Jun 3rd 2019
Weekly News Roundup
Our weekly roundup of interesting articles around HR, Tech and the Future of Work
The last few years have witnessed a phenomenal growth in the population of millennials across the world. With the demography comprising a notable 31.5 percent of the total population of 7.7 billion as of 2019, there are strong predictions that millennials will constitute almost 40 percent of the global adult population in the coming years.
On the back of a digital, data-led economy, millennials are expected to drive exponential business growth and steer disruption across sectors in manners unprecedented. Hence, unlocking opportunity within the millennial workforce is one area which cannot be overlooked.
Nurturing, retaining and motivating the Generation Y today is more difficult than ever before. Rise in automation, shifts in technology and innovation headways are forcing business models to adapt to quickly evolving industries, rendering greater value in developing skills that are unique to people.
But to deliver value in the industry, where do we begin?
Restructuring workforce ecosystem key to managing millennials better Millennials are the workforce of the future that companies need to embrace with open arms. Recruiters must appeal to, engage with, and drive meaningful exchange at work with employees as millennials are more receptive of alternative work arrangements that are designed to empower.
Rethink employee-value proposition
Millennials aren’t transactional in their approach to work. They care about how they’re being valued by their organization. As a forward-looking employer, companies must understand the needs of employees and reframe the employee value proposition to not only explicitly state but also meet those needs with a focus on introducing more personal, agile and holistic reward programs.
Make room for innovation and new skills
Organizations that manage to adjust to the pace of change, end up catching the millennial worker’s fancy. In order to create a work atmosphere that is charged with meaning, it is imperative for companies to ensure that all investment in technology and enablement is complemented by investment in talent and creativity.
Build leaders of the future
Developing people-centric leadership skills such as emotional intelligence, creative acumen, digital capabilities, and resilience receive admiration and instill a culture of collaboration among millennials. The transition from traditional hierarchal structures, to more fluid and flexible organizations, makes them feel empowered, further driving efficiency and job satisfaction.
Demystifying millennial mindset and motivations
Millennials are a dynamic, inquisitive, intellectually and culturally diverse lot. Keeping them anchored in a place for very long however has proven to be a challenge as they demonstrate shifts from one job to another more regularly when compared their predecessors.
To be able to retain millennials in an organization, it is important for new age employers to recognize and systematically address the significantly different behavioral aspects. To ensure that the elusive, ever curious millennial continues to work for your organization for long, you should consider asking ‘What do millennials want?’
Personal motivation from senior leaders
As per a recent report, almost one-third of millennial employees feel that feedback is the single most important aspect needed to improve professionally however only less than 20 percent of them said they received routine feedback. Managers that increasingly play a hands-on role in encouraging millennial employees, often witness greater loyalty as one-on-one interactions serve as a great tool of workplace motivation.
Flexibility and personal time
A good work/life balance is among the top priorities for millennials when choosing a job. Companies that offer flexible work schedules with scope for more frequent work from home option, time offs, etc. are better positioned to procure and retain millennial talent.
Regular rewards and validation for work
The millennial workforce is committed to advancing its career and does not want to wait three or more years for a promotion. They more than appreciate smaller but well-deserved incentives such as bonus, certificates of a job well done and similar rewards that validate their performance and reassures that they’re headed in the right direction. Additionally, cross-functional training courses that help expand their pool of knowledge and extend expertise in other functions also help boost morale at work. Resonance with the organization’s vision
One of the common pitfalls of companies is not investing enough resource and time into explaining the organization’s vision to the recruit. Millennials often seek ways of making a difference. A good way to get them to perform at a higher level is by helping them invest in your vision, thereby developing a shared passion for your objective.
The younger workforce is smarter, more capable and focused on outcomes. They prefer to be empowered with resources to act and drive outcomes. Companies can benefit by encouraging ‘Leaders at all Levels’ and not allow the hierarchy to come in the way.
One in five employees thinks HR will become redundant with rising automation. Over half of employees (52%) believe the future workforce will have more robots than humans, according to a recent TimesJobs survey of 1,200 professionals.
While one in three employees (36%) believe humans and robots will work alongside each other in a 50-50 environment.
According to the survey, these functions will become redundant in future of work:
HR (23%) Production (21%) Operations (14%) IT (12%) Sales and marketing (10%)
The findings align with other studies that aim to get a feel of AI’s impact on the future of work. A poll by CareerBuilder found that more than half (55%) of HR leaders believe that AI will be a regular part of HR in the next five years.
Most respondents also said the thought of AI in HR does not make them nervous, and only 7% believe that a robot can actually perform their role.
However, despite assertions that as many as 700 million jobs will be replaced by 2030, the focus of such studies is to emphasise that professionals simply need to reskill and adapt to a changing role to remain relevant in the future workforce.
Additionally, the McKinsey study stated that functions that constantly require human interaction may be harder to replace.
So how can HR stay relevant?_
Melanie Sharpe Nseir, HR lead at Microsoft told HRD that you must be on your toes and keep learning.
“Recognise where you are on the change curve,” Nseir said. “It’s not easy to recognise what’s in front of you. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. “But I’d say that if you’re committed to HR…and to relevancy, recognise where you are on that change curve. And think about how you can move yourself forward, and up and out into a place where you are accepting and involved in the change, rather than in that resistance place.
“Because this transformation is happening. The faster that you can recognise where you are and where you need to get to, it’ll just be better for you and your career.”
Analysts have discovered “a powerful link between a business’s performance and the extent to which its HR and finance leaders collaborate”. This HR-finance partnership is hugely valuable to organisations if only they can get it right. But new research has revealed that collaboration is proving difficult to instigate and challenging to navigate, writes Concentra Analytics’ Rupert Morrison.
It’s hardly surprising that HR and finance aren’t exactly clicking. These departments have never been closely aligned, so why the necessity for collaboration now? In short, so what?
There’s one crucial reason: business performance.
HR is beginning to realise the potential of people data and workforce analytics. And as it becomes even more mainstream a healthy relationship with finance will mean both teams can be more effective and deliver true organisational value.
HR metrics 2019
Which HR metrics will matter in 2019? Labour turnover (voluntary resignation rate) Absence rate Number of employees per HR staff member So, what are the challenges holding back better cooperation? And what can be done about it? We commissioned research with over 400 HR and finance decision-makers to find out.
Where are we now?
For HR and finance to collaborate effectively there needs to be recognition of the issue, a willingness to change, and effective processes in place to support it. So how close are we to achieving that?
The research shows that less than half (40%) of HR and finance decision-makers in the UK and US believe they have a collaborative relationship. The results also revealed a difference in how each side views the relationship. Of HR respondents, 45% believe there’s good collaboration between departments, but only one in four (25%) finance decision-makers agreed with them.
With low collaboration scores from both sides, we asked about the barriers to success and the challenges were clear.
HR reported a lack of confidence when it comes to working with people data. In fact, 62% admitted that acquiring the right skills was the single biggest barrier to better people analytics and the most difficult to overcome. And the data showed that there was not enough insight into people data and that shared reporting structures were virtually non-existent; only 28% of respondents said they had common reporting systems.
So, what are the few problems standing in the way of collaboration around people planning and analytics?
Firstly, and somewhat ironically for HR, there’s clear confusion around roles and responsibilities.
Our survey found that HR and finance are split on who should take the lead on strategic workforce planning. HR decision-makers feel strongly they should own it (76%), while more than half of finance respondents (55%) say they should be in charge. Meanwhile, 88% of finance leaders believe they should control workforce costs, while 63% of HR respondents say their department should take the lead. Secondly, technology is holding back progress with the majority (55%) of respondents believing that their current technology stands in the way.
Just 10% have extensively adopted specialised workforce analytics software. While others are testing or piloting such solutions, or using them just in some areas, many continue to rely on spreadsheets (48%) or PowerPoint (41%) for activity analysis and organisation planning. And only 21% of HR professionals report being comfortable with data-modelling tools.
Lastly, there’s a distinct lack of insight and forward-planning capabilities; something recognised as important by both finance and HR. Predictive analytics is starting to become central to discussions about people, but more work needs to be done to improve data literacy so that it is interpreted accurately and used to support strategic workforce planning. The vast majority (92%) of those surveyed agreed that HR should have a forward-looking capability for organisational planning.
Creating a shared mindset
A 2018 CIPD study noted that updating technology alone is not enough: “While technology suites offer the opportunity to bring people analytics (and evidence) to more HR professionals, in reality the receiving system (the organisation, the function and the team) for the technology must be both prepared and willing to adopt new practice.” For this to happen, HR needs to embrace a more analytical mindset.
Our survey highlights the need for HR to add planning capabilities that are more data-driven and forward-thinking. Here, HR directors can take inspiration from finance. While much of finance’s responsibility, like HR’s, lies with day-to-day matters, the finance department also has specialists who focus on longer-term financial planning and analysis (FP&A). It’s in their DNA.
As analyst Conner Forrest, who works for US-based 451 Research, notes: “Executives and managers must think more strategically about their workforce as a framework for driving innovation and improving the bottom line.” HR Director opportunities on Personnel Today
Browse more HR director jobs
What’s needed is to elevate organisational planning and analysis (OP&A) to the same level as FP&A in the organisational lexicon. With its own title and working group that includes HR and finance, both can build a better relationship around shared goals. Breaking barriers and building bridges
Planning for an organisation’s future involves asking many questions: how should the business be designed to deliver on strategy? Are people doing the work they should be doing? What skills do we need now and in the years to come? How are employee costs likely to change in order to meet our goals?
To answer those questions, HR and finance need to break out of their individual silos. And it’s not just about getting them to talk more, it’s a wholesale change in the way the two functions communicate, collaborate and plan.
If an engaged, agile and productive workforce is the goal, then OP&A is the playbook. OP&A is a natural partner for established FP&A functions. It creates a common language and clear data points enabling finance and HR to have a meaningful, fact-based, dialogue about how they can meet collective objectives. But someone needs to take the first step.